So…I kinda wanna talk about food for a minute so that’s what I’m gonna do. But first, a short note. So I’m sure by now that ya’ll have noticed that I put ❤ beside my name and is part of my signature at the end of every post. I just want to let everyone know that may be unsure of what that is, it is a heart. It’s sideways because I’m pretty sure that there’s no way to get a proper one on the computer without animation or something. Just wanted to clear that up because I got an email from my wonderful mother earlier this afternoon (morning for you guys states-side) saying that she’s enjoying reading my posts but that she was a tad confused as to what the ❤ was supposed to represent. She thought it was a dunce with a moustache. Made my day. Love you Mom! So this is for you, an official disclaimer, that it is a heart. Though if anyone would prefer to see it as a dunce with a moustache, by all means go ahead. If you tilt your head it kind of does. : )
Alright, so now onto the topic of discussion that I’ve chosen for today: food. As I’m sure all of you are aware, French food is not the same as US food. Or Chinese, or English, or any other country that you are from. Some of it is good, other bits not so much but that’s like with any cultural food. How much of a picky eater you are also comes into play. So. Let’s begin.
Wine, cheese, and bread. Those are the first things that pop into your head when asked to think of French food right? Well, I have to say that the stereotype is kind of true. They do love their wine, cheese, and bread. BUT not every french person can tell you what type of cheese is in front of you, as I’ve found out. Our monotrices may be french but even they don’t know all the different types of cheeses. Not that we’ve had really outlandish ones served (I don’t think) but one of them doesn’t really even like cheese which I would think would be something of a sin. Like someone in America saying they hate football or something that’s really American (which, I guess includes me since I’m not a huge fan of the sport). I haven’t actually seen a lot of wine served but then again I haven’t really eaten out much here yet and my host mom isn’t a fan of drinking. (A former student of hers is studying in Tours for her masters and stopped by for a visit last weekend and we chatted.) That would explain why we never have it with dinner like some of my friends’ do at their host houses. I don’t think she’ll stop Sarah or I if we want to have a glass after dinner as long as we don’t drink to get drunk (which is stupid. I know I’m in college which is prime stupid time for drinking but drinking to get drunk is stupid. In my opinion.) Anyway. Oh, and the bread. That’s true too. There’s a lotta bread. With every meal there’s baguette pieces or whole baguettes if you’re at school and in the mornings we usually have sliced bread with butter and jam for breakfast.
Besides breakfast there are two other major meals of the day as I’m sure you’re all aware. The first is lunch and the second is dinner (or supper depending on where you’re from). Let me tell you, they are vastly different. I’ll give you a hint as to which one’s better; it’s not the midday meal. Now dont’ get me wrong, parts of it are good but it also varies greatly day to day. Baguetts, water, and orange juice are on the table when you walk in and the rest is a toss-up. There’s four courses to every meal. There’s a salade which at school is an assortment of fruits, veggies, and sometimes tuna (like tuna and tomatoes). Then there’s the main course which varies. Today it was chicken nuggets and fries. So french right? After that comes cheese and finally dessert. That’s one thing that I’m still trying to get. I realize that we’re a bunch of foreigners (for the month of September CIDEF kids eat in the little dining room on campus instead of the student’s resto U which is off campus. Why the kid’s cafeteria is 15-20 min away from school I have no idea.) but we came here to learn french and immerse ourselves in the culture so, logically thinking, shouldn’t that include food too? I understand that it might be a bit difficult making something for however many of us eat in the dining room this month but you could at least try Sodexo. Chicken nuggets and fries, instant mashed potatoes and salsibury steak patties, and fried calimari are not all that french. It’s more American if anything. Sodexo is also who caters the dining hall at my college in the states. Sad thing is that the food is better there. Now I’m not trying to bash Sodexo or anything like that, I’m simply stating my opinions. There’s a difference. It could also be that everything else we’ve eaten in Angers so far has been much healthier and fresher while lunch seems fried or processed so it could just be a comparison issue but I don’t think that’s it completely.
Compared to lunch, dinner is amazing. It’s really good even without comparing it. It’s the same set-up: salade, main course, real salad and cheese, dessert if we would like. Madame’s food is really good. Salade is usually a vegetable dish of some sort. We’ve had beets and apples, vinaigrette shredded carrots, cucumbers and sauce, and one time a kind of hodge-podge of veggies with corn, beans, beets, apples, carrots, etc. We’ve also had slices of cantaloupe once and tomato slices drizzled in oil and sprinkled with pepper. Not all at once obviously, there’s only three of us. But that’s what we’ve had so far. The former student that visited said that once it gets colder the salade turns to different kinds of soup and that she usually gets whatever is in season at the time (which would explain why we’ve had a lot of tomatoes and zuchini lately not that I’m complaining). I think my favorite salade so far is the cucumbers and sauce. I don’t know what the sauce is other than it’s light and white and is so good. (minds out of the gutter people). I was a little surprised at how much I liked it because I’ve never really liked cucumbers before but this dish is reaallly good.
For the main course, we’ve had a few different things. All good but the combinations are sometimes things that I’ve never seen before or would never have thought of. We’ve had spaghetti twice now and both times were different. Once was with cheese and sauce, closer to what you’d expect. The other time she cooked eggs sunny side up (I think. I never can keep sunny side up and over easy straight in my head. It’s the one where you don’t flip it.) and put those on top of the spaghetti and then there was little bits of tomatoes and some cheese underneath, mixed in with the noodles. Sounds a bit strange right? It was actually pretty good. A few times now we’ve had this mix of tomatoes and zunchini with bits of chicken or green beans mixed in as well. And then tonight we had quiche. Love her quiche. It’s the second time we’ve had it and it’s so good. It’s got eggs (obviously), cheese, little bits of ham, tomatoes, and little green things that I’m not sure I can identify that are sprinkled on top. And then on Sunday nights I think is crepe night. Those are good too. It’s weird because whenever we make them at home or when I had them in Paris, it’s always the dessert ones with sugar or lemon juice and sugar or jam or nutella and Madame makes those too but first we get ones with egg, cheese, and ham inside. I’m still getting used to that but it’s good. I just always forget that you can have other things that aren’t sweet in a crepe.
One good thing is that for all the french eat a lot of cheese and bread, they’re actually pretty healthy. Not everyone is stick thin obviously with different body types but they don’t smother everything in butter (I don’t think) and they don’t fry everything. I had a nice chat with Madame’s former student when she was here (I don’t think I ever caught her name) and she said that Madame is pretty healthy, that we shouldn’t really worry about watching what we eat because she cooks super healthy and we walk everywhere. She said that Madame likes the organic stuff and is the kind of person who knows where her produce comes from, how it was grown, etc. Which is nice to know. We hardly ever make it to dessert, Sarah and I, but if we do it’s usually fruit like an apple or banana or she offers us a yogurt. Some of our other friends can’t understand how we never have dessert at our house and will talk about how their host family had chocolate cake or something a few nights ago. That’s nice to have too but that’s a heavy dessert to have every single night. One thing I’d wouldn’t mind finding out is how she makes the tomatoes when they’re baked or cooked into one of the dishes. When you bite into them, there’s a faint taste of some spice like cinnanmon. Or maybe nutmeg? Once or twice it’s sort of reminded me of apple cider (american apple cider, not the hard stuff). It’s good.
I think that’s about all I can think of. I’ve thought about doing this post before but then we had that quiche for dinner tonight and really, I just wanted to write about that and how good Madame’s cooking is. So, to all of you at home who might have been worried about me starving or something, have no fear. Alas as you’ve noticed, there are no pictures today. I figured that trying to find pictures on the internet would just tempt some of you more since I’m sure talking about food all this time has made you want some.
I have been thinking though and I kind of want to do another Music Alert! so that may be the next upload if I get a chance to tomorrow before the last excursion on Saturday. There’s actually a few that I’d like to do so we’ll see how it goes.
Until then, enjoy this post about how amazing (or not so amazing) the food in France has been. : )